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It can be said that video games are America’s favorite pastime. In fact, around 156 billion hours are spent playing video games every year. That’s over seven times longer than human beings have existed on Earth!

In recent years, video games have become more accessible, playable, realistic, and technically advanced … yet, they can’t fully compare to the classic video games we used to play sitting around in our underwear on Saturdays. Life was much simpler when most of our worries centered around getting banana-peeled in Mario Kart.

When it comes to classic video games, what are our most loved and hated levels? What games stole our hearts as children and continue to have a place on our shelves as adults? We asked over 2,000 gamers to find out.

Here’s what we learned...

Classic Video Games That Have Stolen Our Heart

It’s easy to love Mario with his mustache, dirty plumber overalls, and his Italian accent. Who doesn’t want to bounce out of a job into a kaleidoscopic world to collapse an evil regime and ride a baby dinosaur? When we asked 2,000 gamers what their most loved classic video games were, “Super Mario” appeared in the No. 1 (nearly 24 percent) and No. 2 (about 16 percent) spots.

However, “Zelda” appeared three times on this list (No. 3, No. 4, and No. 8 spots). This series was game-changing because it helped popularize the inclusion of gripping, high-fantasy narratives. Nothing else can evoke quite the same sense of wonder as the secret sound. Plus, it’s one of the only series to have won multiple perfect scores by Japan’s esteemed Fumitsu Magazine.

more memorable classic video game levels

What beats riding on Yoshi’s back? Probably being handed a magic cape and flying into a sky full of coins. When it comes to gamers’ most loved classic video game levels, “Donut Plains 1” is a blast – it is the No. 1 most loved level. Even “Yoshi’s Island 1” was a red carpet into the world of “Mario” for a lot of people. And while daunting, the “Sunken Ghost Ship” level was awesome. If you managed to get through those, you probably chipped off Whomp’s block in “Whomp’s Fortress” a few years later on N64.

Most hated classic video game levels

If the “Sunken Ghost Ship” level was memorable and well-loved, it’s probably because it was also terrifying. While many of our gamers loved this level, a lot of them hated it as well.Try avoiding a procession of rotating ghouls that turn invisible every other second. Its No. 1 ranking suggests that gamers gripe about it more than they glorify it.

“Wendy’s Castle” is also a much hated video game level. At No. 2, “Wendy’s Castle” is more likely to spawn sore fingers (and losers) than level lovers. Many gamers spent hours dodging spinning razors, spiked pillars, and fireballs. “Larry’s Castle” isn’t much better, and “Jolly Roger Bay” and “Inside Jabu-Jabu’s Belly” are infuriating water levels as well – however, it can be fun getting shot out of cannons and meeting Princess Ruto.

Additionally, it’s hard to even mention the “Water Temple,” a Rubik’s Cube-esque dungeon with adjustable water levels, without getting stressed. As for “Sonic,” can we keep the pastures green? Structures in “Marble Zone” don’t sit still and expose lava, and in the “Labyrinth Zone,” we found out there’s a reason hedgehogs don’t swim.

where are adult video gamers now?


No one’s ever too old to remember their favorite video game. What do our gamers do for a living, and what are their favorite classic video games? It turns out, those in wholesale and retail absolutely love “The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time” – are they still devoting 100-plus hours a week to the “Water Temple?”

“Battletoads” fanatics are in information services and data processing, which makes sense considering it takes quite a brain to beat the game. Further, those in finance and insurance love “Donkey Kong Country,” while respondents in education really like “Super Mario World,” “Sonic the Hedgehog 2,” and “GoldenEye 007.”

favorite video game consoles


According to our survey, Nintendo 64 edges out Super Nintendo by a narrow margin when it comes to people’s favorite game console, but both gaming systems will forever be engrained in the hearts of platform and fifth-generation gamers alike. While Super Nintendo offered an unforgettable platform game experience, the N64 represented the fascinating shift from 2-D to 3-D game worlds, opening up endless possibilities for the games that followed.


What is it that makes these moments in video games so memorable? Maybe it’s the connection we have with the protagonist in our favorite game. Maybe it’s the undeniable sense of accomplishment we get when we finally beat a level after the 200th attempt. The fact that video game levels from over 20 years ago are still in people’s memories – whether good or bad – means video games are here to stay.  

Video game players are always yearning for the satisfaction of dominating fictional worlds of gameplay. Visit MuchGames.com for thousands of games you’re sure to love, as well as a community of gamers just like you!










The data we used in this project was generated by conducting a survey of 2,000 people to see which classic video games, consoles, and levels are the most loved and hated.

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